Gender and Corruption in Botswana: Perceptions, Participation and Considerations for Anti-Corruption Policy

This paper explores the gendered differences of perceived and actual participation in bureaucratic corruption in Botswana. By examining Afrobarometer data and undertaking a documentary analysis, the study finds that while levels of perceived corruption by men and women in public institutions were high, participation in bureaucratic corruption (bribery) was considerably lower. Contrary to the notion that corruption has a greater impact on women than men, this study finds that higher levels of participation across all public service categories were reported by unemployed men, in particular, having to give a gift or a favour to avoid problems with the police. Notwithstanding the scant availability of data, the documentary analysis revealed that non-monetary forms of corruption such as sextortion (sexual extortion) have been experienced by female students and undocumented female migrants in Botswana. Nevertheless, this form of corruption has received little policy attention, despite its potential to undermine gender equality efforts. Additionally, the study finds little correlation between higher levels of women’s representation in key decision-making positions (i.e., parliament and cabinet) and lower levels of corruption in Botswana. There is a need for both the gender and anti-corruption policy framework to be synthesised in order to specifically reflect on and respond to the perceived gendered dimensions of corruption. The establishment of an independent police authority or commission might not only increase levels of public trust and confidence in the police service, but also strengthen levels of transparency and accountability.